When did “bromance” enter the lexicon. I don’t think it was as early as 2004 because if it had been a common word then, certainly it would have been used in reviews of Sideways. I could go on and on about the psychology behind the characters of Miles and Jack and their relationship.
But, I would rather talk about my thoughts on wine.
We saw Sideways shortly after it originally came out. We loved it. Since 2004, we have had a lot of wine education—classes at the local community college, fun workshops through the local art museum, and we even took a wine making class at a local winery. (We have also had a lot of wine!) We love to visit small wineries when we travel.
But, what have I retained? I know just enough to be dangerous.
We can talk about the legs of a wine, the viscosity, and the nose. We love to be ridiculous about the bouquets we get—cat litter, diesel, pencil lead, dirty socks.
Seeing Sideways again made me smile. It made me remember a lot of conversations we overheard in our wine classes.
- “Ah, yes, I do smell a bit of roasted cauliflower in this bouquet.” (That would be the elderly gentleman in the plaid pants.)
- “I prefer an oaked vintage over an unoaked.” (That would be the “arts patron” type who is wearing pearls and the perfect black dress.)
- “I just drink wine to be happy.” (That would be the unassuming couple—wait, that was us.)
So, as I viewed the film again, I really saw Miles as some of our wine classmates (and sometimes even the instructor).
Miles is like wine class squared on crack.
But, enough pretentious wine-snob bashing.
Let’s get on to my inspiration. I knew I had to cook with wine and I was inspired by Jack’s comment at the awkward meal with Miles’ mother: “Is this chicken?” (I am assuming he was being served leftover mystery meat.)
So, here is my meal inspired by Sideways.
2 bone-in chicken breasts (or your favorite pieces, about 2 1/2 lbs.)
1 t. fine sea salt
3/4 t. fresh ground pepper (or more to taste)
1 T. olive oil
2 T. unsalted butter, divided
1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 T. finely chopped shallot
2 1/2 c. baby carrots
1 c. dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs. small (2-inch) red potatoes
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 t. tarragon, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a wide 3 1/2- to 5-quart heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until butter just starts to brown. Add chicken and brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add onions and shallots and cook about 5 minutes. Add wine and deglaze pan. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Add chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, carrots, and potatoes.
Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through, 45 minutes to one hour.
Remove from oven and remove chicken, potatoes and carrots from pot to a serving platter. Heat pan juices on stove top over medium heat.
Stir cream, Dijon, tarragon and final tablespoon of butter into pan juices and stir until incorporated and bubbly.
Drizzle remaining sauce over chicken, potatoes and carrots.
My intent was to find a nice California Chenin Blanc but I came away from the liquor store with Kitchen Sink White Table Wine. This is my new favorite cheap wine and I am sure Miles would say it tasted like the back of a school bus.
This wine made a great sauce and was delicious to drink with the meal.
I started thinking why we like wine. I have to say that it is the romance of it. I would like to say that I enjoy learning about it and the intelligentsia-side of being a oenophile, but I have to side with Maya:
I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity…..And its so f***ing good.
And besides, its so “f”ing good!
If you’re still reading after my rambling review, rant and recipe, thank you. Cheers!